The Minority Leader of the Parliament of Ghana, Haruna Iddrisu, has told the legislature and other stakeholders considering concerns of the National Association of Law Students brought before them not to overprotect the students in their deliberations.
He said even though there is something fundamentally wrong with legal education in the country, it was important for institutions mandated to have oversight responsibility over legal education to remain resolute and avoid a situation where they will come up with a recommendation that will compromise on quality of legal education.
Students of legal education, Hon. Iddrisu noted, must be told that quality has always been the hallmark of legal education in the country.
“We also should not over pamper them as if every person writing the exams must necessarily pass. We should not. It is academically impossible and let them be told that quality will emanate from quality on the basis of what they do. So, Mr. Speaker, fundamentally, I agree that there is something wrong with legal education in Ghana and we will need to have a national conversation on it”, he noted.
The Minority Leader who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South made this observation on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday, February 5, 2020, when contributing to the motion for the adoption of the report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the written petition by the National Association of Law Students seeking reforms in the country’s legal system.
The Committee had in its report, recommended in part to the honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, to submit a new Bill to the House to replace the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to achieve the objectives.
It had on the account of the controversies surrounding the results of the 2019 entrance examination for admission to the Ghana School of Law, also recommended to the Ghana Legal Council (GLC) to commence the process for re-marking of scripts upon request and payment of reasonable fees.
Hon. Iddrisu commenting further on the issue took Parliament to the cleaners for running away from its responsibilities.
For instance, he said the legislature got it wrong in the first place when it took away interviews from the Legal Profession (Professional and Post-Call Law Course) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2355) it passed
“This parliament is running away from what it should have been doing. There is a relationship between policy and legislation. You legislate on policy when you feel strongly about the policy. We feel strongly that there is a crisis on legal education therefore the question that this Parliament must be asking is how do we use legislation to cure the defects that we have so recognized subsequent to the petition that has been presented to us? So, Parliament must not run away from our onerous responsibility. If there is a bill before us, how do we fine-tune that bill to respond to all the issues of remarking, examiners report, and comprehensive review of legal education?”, he quizzed.
He cautioned Parliament not to do anything that will compromise on the quality of legal education in the country considering the Legal Profession (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which is currently before it for consideration.
“We should not do anything to dilute or compromise on the quality of legal education. What is the essence of examination? This Parliament must admit that we got it wrong. We got it wrong when we took away interviews in that L.I. that we passed. It is not wrong for us to swallow the humble pie. It was wrong. Where in the world do you have a lecturer teach then somebody will sit somewhere and set questions for that person and mark? It is wrong and we must condemn it. If you lecture, you must set examination. But Mr. Speaker, they are hiding something from us. I’m sure there are integrity problems associated with the conduct of examination; integrity problems with the marking; integrity problems of people who pass and people who don’t pass. You don’t deal with it by running away and say that you have set up an independent examination authority – that is not right”, he stressed.